Welby: Barring gay bishops’ spouses ‘painful’ but necessary

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Speaking to The Times of London, the Archbishop of Canterbury has broken his silence on his decision to exclude the spouses of gay bishops from this summer’s Lambeth Conference. He said the decision was “painful” but he was in a “lose-lose” in which he made the choice that would attract the most bishops to the conference.

From The Times (in a largely pay-walled article):

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that he had to make the “painful” decision to ban gay bishops from bringing their spouses to a leading conference to avoid a boycott from traditionalist church leaders.

Breaking his silence over the row, the Most Rev Justin Welby told The Times that he found himself in a “lose-lose situation”.

Christian Today has a report derived from The Times article:

“Well over 90 per cent of the Anglican communion are conservative on issues of sexuality. I’ve invited all the bishops, including those in same-sex marriages. And I had to consider . . . getting as many people as possible there and excluding as few as possible. It’s a lose-lose situation,” he said.

He continued: “I had to take what is a really difficult and painful decision to say, in order for the conference to be as representative as possible and get all the bishops there and not have the risk of some provinces not coming because they felt I was pushing the envelope too far, that I couldn’t ask all the spouses.”

Pictured: Archbishop Justin and his wife Caroline.

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Charles Hill
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Charles Hill

I believe the Archbishop should bar all bishop spouses to Lambeth no matter their sexual orientation in order to gather as many bishops as possible. That signals equality of purpose and though sad, displays equanamity and wisdom.

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Cameron Lerer
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Cameron Lerer

If some people won't attend because gay spouses are invited, and you really, REALLY want those people TO attend, the moral decision is not that hard. Do not invite ANY spouses. There, fixed it for you.

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Steve Price
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Steve Price

At least one member of Parliament has suggested the Archbishop's action may violate England's workplace discrimination laws.Maybe this conference should be moved to Nigeria where discrimination is the regular order and the local Anglican Provinces support it.

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JoS. S Laughon
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It's surprising to see Justin Cantuar show some backbone now and then.

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Gregory Orloff
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Gregory Orloff

He didn't show any backbone. He didn't say, "I disagree with same-sex marriage and think it's wrong, therefore I wouldn't invite same-sex spouses of bishops." He resorted to a typical politician's ploy: "Golly gee, I was put in a bind, it was painful, but I had no choice, it was a lose-lose situation." Showing backbone would have been, "Since there's disagreement among Anglicans about same-sex marriage, no spouses are invited. Lambeth is simply about bishops gathering, so spouses need not be there."

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Tammy Smecker-Hane
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Tammy Smecker-Hane

A sad lack of leadership and courage. It was his role to lead the way with love, and it was the role of those attending to make the choice to go or not to go if the disagreed. Sometimes the most important thing a leader does is let outhers fall flat on their faces so they can learn and overcome. You can't overcome phobias about LGBT folks by ignoring or overloking them! You need to meet them. Sadly, this will be a missed opportunity to do that.

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